How To Learn Cooking By Watching Professional Chefs


Cooking At Home

Many people are cooking at home to eat healthier meal and save money on eating out costs. Right now, with economy being down, more and more of my friends are cooking at home.

I have a good friend, who works and travels a lot, so she hardly ever cooked and now she wanted to really learn cooking at home to eat more healthy and more importantly impress her new boyfriend with her culinary skills. She knows simple basic cooking steps but nothing beyond it. So, I asked her to come by watch me cook, but her busy travel schedule does not leave much time.

I let her borrow some of cookbooks from my collection but she was not having much success and motivation to follow through. The next best thing to watching and practice cooking, I gave one of my cooking DVDs and she had much success with it as she was able to follow through as she is visual person.

If you are a visual person like me and my friend, we can learn a lot from watching someone cook, in real life or watching chefs cooking on TV shows or how to cook DVDs. I always watch Food TV network shows and inspire to cook my version of recipe after the viewing.

There are lot of cooking DVDs out there, and I have a found a few gems after watching many cooking shows and DVDs. Hope it becomes part of kitchen library and inspiration shelf for years to come.

Top DVDs to learn and get Inspirational Idea for Cooking

There are a few ways to learn from watching professional and passionate cooks. Watching professional chefs in person and learning from them is great but not possible and often expensive if any chance is there.

The second best idea is to buy or rent a DVD of professional chef or how to Cook type DVDs. It is not only inexpensive but you can watch it at your leisure from your home at your pace. You can stop it when you are busy, rewind when you missed something important.

Benefits of watching Cooking DVDs at home:

  1. Inexpensive to buy compared to seeing chef in person
  2. You can watch it at your pace
  3. You can rewind to see if you missed something or need more clarification
  4. You can stop or pause when you need
  5. You can cook with DVD with pause button
  6. You can view it anytime you like, middle of night or in afternoon
  7. You can see it again until your master the skills
  8. You can lend DVDs to your friends and family
  9. You can give it family member or friend when you are done with it, they will be grateful
  10. You can always re-sell in craigslist once you have moved on to next level of cooking

My top Cooking DVD selections:

These are my selection of best “how to cook” DVDs based on my own cooking DVD viewing and my cooking shelf selections where I keep my best cookbooks, my grandmother’s hand written cooking tips and my cooking DVDs.

1: Julia Child, The French Chef

Julia Child - The French Chef Julia Child – The French Chef

Everyone knows Julia Child, TV’s first famous chef who made french cooking known in US. This is box DVD set, and many episode are in black and white, so it is classic vintage cooking show, it has some printable recipes from a book of same name. Each DVD contains a couple of printable recipes, and there’s also a Julia Biography.

The 18 episodes on the three-disc DVD are:

Starters and Sidedishes
1. The potato show
2. Your own french onion soup
3. Bouilabaisse à la Marseillaise
4. The spinach twins
5. Salad Niçoise
6. French fries

Main Courses
1. Bœuf Bourguignon
2. To roast a chicken
3. The lobster show
4. To stuff a sausage
5. Tripes à la mode
6. The whole fish story

Baking, Desserts, and other Classics
1. Queen of sheba cake
2. Cheese and wine party
3. Apple dessert
4. Mouse au chocolat
5. The good loaf
6. The omelet show

This is great for young and old cook to see it. I have seen it best price in amazon!

2. Best of America’s Test Kitchen

The Best of America's Test Kitchen The Best of America’s Test Kitchen

I have watched America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS for years, and I simply love all the tips and recipes I learn from there. So I had to have copy of my own for best of America’s Test Kitchen series. It has 30 essential recipes and in addition to taste and kitchen equipment testing guide.

This series is never about flashy and catchy cooking phrases, it is down to earth and simple cooking show that teaches how to cook, what are the best kitchen gadgets at best value for money and I like that.

One gets to do behind the scene to try out various ways of cooking and kitchen gadgets. It has 3 DVDs on best of the test kitchen series.

3. Good Eats:

Good Eats: The Complete First Season Good Eats: The Complete First Season

Alton Brown of Good Eats is simply fun and amazing show, it is cooking chef meets science teacher in a kitchen. I have learned so much from just watching his show and learning why something cooks the way it does.

Alton is funny, knowledgeable and very personable persona. When he teaches something scientific without making you feel like an idiot who does not know anything. Alton Brown is not over hyped and I feel is one of the under rated cooking chef. You will love this 2 DVDs sets, laughing and learning various cooking methods and science behind it without realizing it.

4. Top Chef: New York

Top Chef: New York - Season 5 Top Chef: New York – Season 5

I knew of TOP CHEF but just gave it a viewing just recently. I never thought I would enjoy this show but this show pulled me in right away and got me totally addicted. New York Addition is one of the best as New York has one of best restaurants and chefs. It blends cooking and personality of contestants well.

It is a show where each episode starts off right away with a challenge which tests particular skills and talents a chef should have, which make it more fun to watch. At first I thought Padma Lakshmi who is top model would be misfit to be in top chef show, but she fits perfectly, as she herself loves to cook. Judges Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons are honest and not rude and contestants are human and colorful. You will love watching and learning from this series.


When we can not afford gourmet classes from experts, learning from expert via DVDs is best way to get best of both world, learn master chef techniques without breaking your 401K. Here are some more Cooking DVDs from master chefs that you may like;

Happy Cooking!

Image source: Learn How To Cook DVD

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